From an E-Mail I got.
Taken from the BBC Web Site. Aviation History - Charlie Brown's Story Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton , England . His B-17 was called 'Ye Old Pub' and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper over enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton. After flying over an enemy airfield, a pilot named Franz Steigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17. When he got near the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he 'had never seen a plane in such a bad state'. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, and the tail gunner wounded. The top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose was smashed and there were holes everywhere. Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at Charlie Brown, the pilot. Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane. Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane to and slightly over the North Sea towards England . He then saluted Charlie Brown and turned away, back to Europe . When Franz landed he told the c/o that the plane had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it. More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved the crew. After years of research, Franz was found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions. They met in the USA at a 379th Bomber Group reunion, together with 25 people who are alive now - all because Franz never fired his guns that day. Research shows that Charlie Brown lived in Seattle and Franz Steigler had moved to Vancouver , BC after the war. When they finally met, they discovered they had lived less than 200 miles apart for the past 50 years!!
I didn't make it!
stuff like that happened alot, people just didnt want to kill others and well the good in humans came out.
That's an amazing story food! I'll bet the german guy was an old guy who had that sort of confident air about him that not many people have... ahh I'm just sad that I didn't spot him in Vancity:(.
This reminds me a lot about how Micheal Wittmann, despite being a devout nazi, helped a russian crew that was bailing out of their tank, albeit from Witmmann's gunner, after a shot was fired carefully into the engine compartment to not hurt the crew as much. However when they came out, they were on fire which Wittmann and his crew quickly put out.
It's too bad that incidents such as these involving germans during world war 2 remain so obscure meanwhile a Canadian soldier holding a dutch child has pictures taken of him from every angle. But I guess it makes sense since during world war 2 germans were subhuman or at least the propaganda would have you believe before it turned to the evil russians.:rolleyes:
Nice find. Stories like this do pop up from time to time. Read a book ('Maverick' I think is the name) about a cobra pilot in Nam that after unleashing a few rockets at a VC in a rice paddy the pods failed so he switched to his cannon & it jammed after the first 20 rounds or so. They had chased this poor SOB for a few minutes while all that was going on & by this time the VC is tuckered out & standing there weaponless trying to catch his breath so the pilot & gunner in the cobra do the only thing they could. Land, pop open the canopy, stand, salute, button back up & fly home. My grandfather never was much for telling us about anything he did in WWII but I do recall one & only one story involving death from him. He said after the Japanese had surrendered on one of the many God forsaken islands he was on the Japs sent an interpreter to radio & meet the IJN/IJA forces on that island & tell them that the war was over & to march to a certain spot & stack their weapons & the U.S. would come pick them up. He was in the group that went to pick them up. He said their clothes were rotted off & they were almost starved to death so they fed em a little & loaded em up. On the way back to the base they stopped at some indigenous peoples village & after some of these guys saw the japs in the back of the half track they went into their huts & came back out with their machetes & were going to chop em to pieces. He literally had to shoot & kill one of em to protect his prisoners. Said there was a big rigmarole about it but the higher ups finally concluded he did the right thing since firing into the air over their heads wasnt stopping them from advancing on the prisoners & the one he shot was just starting his swing at one of em. Guess the villagers really hated the japs & who could blame them but once under the care & protection of my grandfather they were inviolate as far as he was concerned but it still bothered him for the rest of his life. Not a situation anyone would envy being in.
I remember on the history channel a direct quote from a British WWII pilot, "We didn't want to kill the person, just destroy the plane."
Enemy is a human being.
Lt.M@rv;3524771Enemy is a human being.
Mercy does pop it's head out from time to time, even under the most destitute of situations. In a book I have at home, though, an Allied pilots was talking about all the trouble he went through to finally shoot down this excellent German's plane (ME-109 I believe). He didn't kill the pilot for whatever reason but he expressed regrets over not doing it. His reasoning was that enemy was too skilled and killing him would save his friends lives.
A good a reason to have to kill someone that I know about...
Stuff like like that happened many times. But whenever you read something new it is kind of a relieve that not everything in WW2 went wrong.
Here is one of the stories I like most. Text taken from www.22ndinfantry.org
The Hürtgen Forest Monument
In the October 22, 1995 issue of "The Arizona Republic" newspaper, Steve Wilson wrote the following article:
One of the longest, bloodiest and least publicized battles of World War II was fought in the dense fir trees along the German - Belgian border called the Hürtgen Forest.
Thirty thousand Americans were killed or wounded in six months of fighting that began in September 1944 and lasted far into the bitter winter. Thousands more were disabled by combat fatigue and exposure. An estimated 12,000 Germans were killed.
"Whoever survived Hürtgenwald must have had a guardian angel on each of his shoulders, " wrote Ernest Hemmingway, who covered the battle for Collier's magazine.
One soldier who got out alive is retired Major Gen. John F. Ruggles of Phoenix, 86. He was then a Lieutenant Colonel serving with the 22nd Infantry Regiment.
Last year (1994) to mark the battle's 50th anniversary, Ruggles organized an effort among veterans of the Regiment to place a monument in the forest.
It's a very different monument. Unlike other World War II tributes, this one doesn't honor our own soldiers. This one honors an unheralded act of humanity by a 23 year old German Infantry Lieutenant.
Ruggles wasn't interested in media attention last year, and the monuments dedication received no news coverage in this country. But a friend recently convinced him that others would like to hear the story, so last week he talked about it.
On November 12, 1944, Lt. Friedrich Lengfeld was commanding a beleaguered German rifle company. Like most units on both sides, he had suffered heavy casualties.
Early that morning, a wounded American could be heard calling from the middle of a German minefield in a no man's land separating the combatants.
"Help me" the man cried. His unit had withdrawn , however, and no U.S. troops were close enough to hear.
Lengfeld ordered his men not to shoot if Americans came to rescue the man. But none came. The soldiers weakening voice was heard for hours.
"Help me" he called, again and again. At about 10:30 that morning, Lengfeld could bear the cries no longer. He formed a rescue squad, complete with Red Cross vests and flags, and led his men toward the wounded American.
He never made it. Approaching the soldier, he stepped on a land mine, and the exploding metal fragments tore deeply into his body. Eight hours later Lengfeld is dead. The fate of the American is unknown.
Much of this story, unpublished in any American books on the war, is based on the eyewitness account of Hubert Gees, who served as Lengfeld's communications runner.
Speaking at the monument's dedication in Germany last October, Gees said : " Lieutenant Lengfeld was one of the best soldiers of the Hürtgen Forest. He was an exemplary company commander, who never asked us to do more than he himself was ready to give. He possessed the complete confidence of his soldiers.
Ruggles said Lengfeld's sense of duty went far beyond the call. " You can't go to any greater extreme than to give your life trying to rescue someone you are fighting as your enemy in war " he said. " Compare that to the indifference most people feel about each other today."
The bronze and concrete monument is believed to be the only one placed by Americans in a German military cemetery. In both German and English, the plaque reads :
Here in the Hürtgen Forest, on Nov. 12, 1944, Lt. Friedrich Lengfeld, a German officer, gave his life while trying to save the life of an American soldier lying severely wounded in the 'Wilde Sau' minefield and appealing for medical aid."
To the young Lieutenant, the voice crying out that day did not come from an enemy. Nor from an American, nor a stranger. It came from a human being in need. Something inside Lengfeld compelled him to act - a feeling so strong and enduring not even the madness of war could block it.
In the heavy silence of the German forest, where thousands upon thousands met death, that glorious impulse for life is now honored.